Monday, October 23, 2017

USA, Illinois: DOE Grant Provided for Deep Direct-Use Geothermal Technology Research at University of Illinois

ISGS receives $720,000 award from DOE for geothermal research (Illinois State Geological Survey)

The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) received a $720,000 grant from the Department of Energy to determine the feasibility of tapping geothermal energy for heating and cooling on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus.

The project, led by ISGS hydrogeologist Yu-Feng “Forrest” Lin, will determine the potential to provide cost-effective, renewable thermal energy from the low-temperature sedimentary basins that underlie large portions of the United States. ISGS scientists will evaluate harnessing the natural heat from two geological formations (the St. Peter and Mt. Simon Sandstones) under central Illinois, a region previously unexplored for geothermal energy.

The ISGS team will test Deep Direct-Use technology to tap heat from low-temperature (90-190 F) subsurface reservoirs. The goal is to replace the conventional heating and cooling system at the Illinois Energy Farm—the 320-acre “living laboratory” where U of I researchers work on developing alternative energy resources—and other campus buildings. Results of the study could be applicable to other campuses and multi-building industrial, military, and medical facilities overlying the Illinois Basin, according to Lin.

ISGS will evaluate DDU technology that extracts heat from deep reservoirs of water. Using a paired set of wells, water will be pumped to the surface from deep bedrock aquifers, circulated through a thermal exchange system, and returned to the aquifer at a much lower temperature. Geothermal systems using DDU technologies are typically used for space heating and air conditioning, water heating, and refrigeration.

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